In the face of mounting embarrassment, what was left of the League arranged to meet in HQ on Saturday evening. Rachel and I arrived before everyone else. She’d gone to an open mike night on Friday, so this was the first chance we’d had to talk in two days.
We sat down at the table in the main room, and waited.
“I completely forgot to tell you about the Ice Twins yesterday morning,” I said. “Sorry.”
“Don’t apologise. I needed the sleep. I stayed at Lucas’ house until four in the morning.”
“Don’t start. It got weird. We were flirting during the movies, and when we left, the idea that we’d go to his place and have sex seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Then once we got there, I started thinking. I never have sex on the first date, and I definitely don’t have sex after talking to a guy for maybe forty minutes between movies. So we didn’t, but something strange was going on.”
“Vaughn said Lucas was pretty smooth.”
“Not that smooth. Smoother than a high school boy, yes. And definitely smoother than ‘Hey Haley, you wanna make out in space?’”
“I didn’t say that, and how did you know about it anyway?”
“Well, it’s not as if Haley and I never see each other. You’re lucky she thought it was funny. I’d have been out of there so quickly—”
“I’d hope, because that would be incest.”
Rachel frowned, and tapped the table with her finger. “Forget I said it. My point was if romance were a stairway to the second floor, ideas like that take you down a ladder to the basement of a completely different house.”
I didn’t say anything for a little while. “Well, anyway, I’ve got a theory about uh… Lucas. If Evil Beatnik feeds off rebellion, and he can possess people, maybe he can influence people who he doesn’t possess? So anyone under thirty would be vulnerable, but you might be more vulnerable than me because you’re probably more cool—”
“God, I hope so.”
“—and you’re closer to whatever ‘anti-establishment’ is than I am. Half your clothes are black, and you ignored a lot of rules even before this year.”
“And because of that, he could feed off Lucas and me if we had sex?”
“That’s my theory.”
“That’s… disgusting. So where are you getting all this, and how did the original League stop him?”
I showed her the files, and we read until everybody else showed up.
* * *
“I think Marcus is the only one who hasn’t read through Evil Beatnik’s files now,” Jaclyn said.
Marcus looked up from a folder filled with yellowed paper. “Give me a minute. You don’t seriously expect me to read all this at once.”
“No, but you need to know it.” Pausing for a breath, she said, “And that’s not all. We need to pull files on the Ice Twins’ whole team.”
Technically, we didn’t have files on any of them. The originals were gone. What we had might be close, or it might be totally wrong if they were good with technology, or didn’t have quite the same powers as their namesakes…
But whatever. We pulled the files on Ice Queen, Dr. Madness, Destruction Lord, and Dixie Superman anyway. I checked the computer records half-heartedly, and as expected, they didn’t have much by comparison to the manila folders in the file cabinets.
We had a thick piles of records of each person, thicker for Ice Queen and Dr. Madness because Grandpa included information about their inventions, and sometimes schematics. We pulled additional folders for “Fire and Ice,” the team Ice Queen and Destruction Lord founded, and more yet for “The Rebels,” Dixie Superman’s followers.
People put names on a list as they ran across them, and I checked the FBI database or Double V’s website.
“All ‘The Rebels’ are dead or in old age homes. The only living member of ‘Fire and Ice’ is Johnny Destruction, and no one knows where he is. Ice Queen died last year in Tampa, Florida. Destruction Lord died when the original League ran him down in Cleveland in the 70’s. Um… The FBI database corroborates our files and Double V’s in saying that Dixie Superman hasn’t been seen since 1981. So that’s everybody.”
Jaclyn looked up from her pile of paper. “What about their kids or grandchildren?”
“There’s nothing about any of them taking up the family business.”
Rachel shook her head. “Is there anything about any of them going missing?”
“Not that I can find so far, but I might not be looking in the right database.”
Marcus put Evil Beatnik’s folder back on the table. “In comics, this legacy nemesis thing is whole lot more fun. They show up, do something horrible to your family, and then you go out, and stop them. Look, in Starman, the Mist reappears, his son shoots the current Starman, and then all kinds of craziness happens. With us, the Ice Twins are robbing banks, and we’re sitting in the basement watching Nick check who died on the internet.”
Vaughn nodded. “Yeah, we ought to go out, and try to find them.”
“I know,” Jaclyn said, “I know, but if we want to win, we’d better know what we’re facing, and since no one’s ever heard of them, we have to look here.”
Rachel nodded. “Isn’t it interesting that no one’s ever heard of them?”
“I hope you’re not suggesting they’re from an alternate universe,” Vaughn said. “Because that would suck.”
“No, I’m thinking they don’t do this normally. Evil Beatnik influenced them somehow, and he might be influencing us.”